CROMWELL, Conn. — Paul Casey is a popular fantasy pick this week at the Travelers Championship — and he knows it.
“Yeah, I saw I was on the PGA Tour Instagram post,” he said. “I led the power rankings mark, which is pretty cool, which means — I love this place, but I play it well. I've come very, very close. I would love to get a victory here.”
In four starts here over the last four years, Casey has racked up three top-5 finishes and two runner-ups.
Both losses came to Bubba Watson. In 2015, Casey fired a final-round 65 but lost a playoff when Watson birdied the second extra hole. Last year, Casey had victory in his grasp but forfeited a four-shot, 54-hole lead with a Sunday 72 to finish three back. That final round was one of just two times he hasn’t broken par in 16 trips around TPC River Highlands, where he owns a 67.06 scoring average.
“I love playing with Bubba,” Casey said, harboring no ill will. “He's one of the most enjoyable golfers, even for me, to watch. He's great for our game.
“[It’s] frustrating he's got the better of me a couple times. On both occasions I made errors and didn't play the golf I wanted to. I would love to play better golf and give him more of a match.”
As disappointing as it was to cough up a sizable lead, that Sunday wasn’t a total loss. Casey says he later sat down with his caddie, John McLaren, and his swing coach, Peter Kostis, to figure out why he got so “out of whack” during his warmup.
He’s since settled into a more regimented pre-round routine, controlling the timing and the number of balls he’ll hit. It’s a strategy that he believes helped him contend this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and successfully defend his title at the Valspar Championship.
“I've got that new warmup now, so maybe that's the key,” he said. “You learn in the defeat, learn in the mistakes. If you don't, you don't survive. So as much as it's painful to lose, it's when you learn and when you grow.”
Casey, currently eighth in the FedExCup points race, tees off at 12:50 p.m. ET Thursday with Bryson DeChambeau and Jason Day.